What authority does Jesus have in our lives? What role do we play in granting that authority? And how might it change us to acknowledge it more completely?

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Jesus replied, “I have a question for you. If you tell me the answer, I’ll tell you what kind of authority I have to do these things. Where did John get his authority to baptize? Did he get it from heaven or from humans?”

They argued among themselves, “If we say ‘from heaven,’ he’ll say to us, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But we can’t say ‘from humans’ because we’re afraid of the crowd, since everyone thinks John was a prophet.” Then they replied, “We don’t know.”

Jesus also said to them, “Neither will I tell you what kind of authority I have to do these things.

Matthew 21:24-27

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After questioning Jesus about his authority, the temple priests and leaders find themselves faced with much deeper questions. Where does authority come from? What is its nature? And who grants it?

Jesus asks them if authority comes from God or from humans. They are unwilling to answer, because either answer will make them look bad in front of the crowd, possibly subverting their own authority as leaders. They decide to play it safe and keep quiet, not wanting to weaken their position. And perhaps surprisingly, Jesus also chooses to remain silent and refuses to answer the original question, leaving things in a sort of stalemate.

It would seem that authority is determined by more than one party. On one hand it must be acknowledged or given. On the other it must be accepted or claimed. Since the temple leaders won’t recognize his authority, Jesus is reluctant to declare it. Is it possible that God loves us so much, that God refuses to accept authority in our lives until we give it? What authority do you give to Jesus? What holds you back?

Chad Senuta

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Thank you God for being so gentle with your authority, always allowing me to make my own choices. Help me to follow you, surrendering more of my own authority to yours. Amen.

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May your knowledge of Jesus and the way you live your life draw nearer and nearer until both become one.

Go in peace, inviting and seeking that unity.

Chad Senuta

Chad Senuta serves as the Associate for Youth and Campus Ministry for the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. He enjoys good coffee, listening to music on vinyl, and spending time with his family. He lives in Northfield, IL with his wife Lisa and two daughters.

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